Over 30 years ago, the Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored the conventional wisdom ("Don't quit your day job!"), and although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of eighteen Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience.
Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded over 35 albums, including their latest, What to Expect When You're Electing. They've been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, and can be heard twice a year on National Public Radio stations nationwide during their Politics Takes a Holiday radio specials.
The Capitol Steps were born in December, 1981 when some staffers for Senator Charles Percy were planning entertainment for a Christmas party. Ronald Reagan was President when the Steps began, so co-founders Elaina Newport, Bill Strauss and Jim Aidala figured that if entertainers could become politicians, then politicians could become entertainers! Their first idea was to stage a nativity play, but in the whole Congress they couldn't find three wise men or a virgin! So, they decided to dig into the headlines of the day, and created song parodies & skits which conveyed a special brand of satirical humor that was as popular in Peoria as it was on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Most cast members have worked on Capitol Hill; some for Democrats, some for Republicans, and others for politicians who firmly straddle the fence. No matter who holds office, there's never a shortage of material. Says Elaina Newport, "Typically the Republicans goof up, and the Democrats party. Then the Democrats goof up and the Republicans party. That's what we call the two-party system."
Although the Capitol Steps are based in Washington, DC, most of their shows are out-of-town or for out-of-town audiences, whether it's the National Welding Supply Association, a University audience, High Schoolers, or State Legislators. In fact, the Capitol Steps have performed for the last 5 Presidents (6, if you include Hillary). The only complaints the Steps seem to get are from politicians and personalities who are not included in the program!
No matter who or what is in the headlines, you can bet the Capitol Steps will tackle both sides of the political spectrum and all things equally foolish. What more would you expect from the group that puts the "MOCK" in Democracy?!
For interviews, press kits, videos, a free psychic reading, or further information, please contact us!!
Press clippings: news and reviews
Critics review the Capitol Steps public performances.
- Washington Post: "An oasis of good-natured ribbing in a fiercely partisan world"
- DC Theatre Scene review: "A machine gun of comedy"
- Washington Post: "Capitol Steps goes into comedy overdrive during government shutdown"
- Washington Post feature: "Capitol Steps Turn 30"
- The Huffington Post
- Washington Post
- Broadway World
- The Politico
- Boston Globe
- South Florida Sun Sentinel
- Arizona Republic
- New York Post
- L.A. Times
- Miami Herald
- New York Times
- Washington Post
Awards and Acclaim:
|Winner (three years in a row!) in Washington City Paper's annual Reader's Choice poll for "Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner 2015."|
|Winner (for the fourth year in a row!) in the 24th Annual "Wammie" Awards of the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) for "Cabaret/Musical Theater" (2011)|
|Nominated for the Drama Desk Awards of 2007 for "Outstanding Lyrics."|
|Winner of the 2006 WUSA A-List for Best Comedy Club 2006.|
|Winner of the Washington Post Best Bets Readers' Choice Award for Best Live Theater 2005.|
Praise for the Capitol Steps
Comments from actual clients and distinguished audience members:
- School Nutrition Association (February 2016)
- Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts (October 2015)
- Quotes about the Capitol Steps.
- ARC of Carroll County Fundraiser (July 2009)
- World Presidents Organization (May 2009)
- Judge Lance Ito (May 1995)
We also put the FUN in Fundraisers!
- "Most wonderful program for our fundraiser" (March 2016)
- "Capitol Steps Benefit Raises $230,500 for Cornerstones" (February 2016)
- "Sold out crowd" for annual benefit fundraiser (November 2015)
- "Capitol Steps deliver laughs at fundraiser" (April 2015)
Publicity Materials: Photos, Graphics, Logos and More
Members of the Capitol Steps try to remain anonymous, not always with success. Here's downloadable material suitable for print, publicity, programs, and press releases:
- P.R. logos, graphics, mailers, programs, etc.
- Live Performance Photos of the Capitol Steps: Election 2016 and more!
- Even More Live Performance Photos of the Capitol Steps
- Sample Press Release Template.
All about each member of our cast: See our About the Capitol Steps page for all the details.
Interviews in the Media
The Capitol Steps reveal their secrets. How did the group get its name? What did Ronald Reagan have to say after a White House performance? Which President Bush has done more for comedy?
- D.C. Theater Scene: "Who’s funnier — Democrats or Republicans?" (2016)
- BBC World Service: "Is this the best year ever for political comedy?" (2016)
- Kojo Nnamdi Show: "Behind the Scenes of the Capitol Steps" (2014)
- Washington Post: "Capitol Steps goes into comedy overdrive during government shutdown" (2013)
- WAMC interviews two cast members, Jack Rowles and Delores King Williams, at the Cranwell Resort (2012).
- Co-founder Elaina Newport interviewed by The Sunday Edition on CBC radio. Listen and find out what the Steps fight about backstage (2012).
- New York Times: "Surviving the Obama Comedy Crisis" (2009): Co-founder Elaina Newport explains: "Of course, every time we lose a president we worry, 'Will the next one be funny?'"
- Backstage with the Capitol Steps: TV profile from Scottsdale, AZ during a post-election tour.
- The Capitol Steps were featured on NPR's wildly popular All Songs Considered.
- Interview with Elaina Newport ( click here to listen ), producer and co-founder of the Capitol Steps, on XM Radio's The Mimi Geerges Show
- The Capitol Steps on NPR's Morning Edition (2004)
See the Capitol Steps on stage and behind the scenes.
- See the Capitol Steps Channel on YouTube
a Quicktime promo video (c. 2005).
(Eleven minutes, 19MB.)
If you don't have Quicktime installed, free software is available here.
Here's what it takes to stage a performance: